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Hugo Chow-Wing-Bom, Tessa Dekker, Pete Jones; Using Virtual Reality [VR] to assess the effects of asymmetric vision loss on visual search performance. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):657. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.657.
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Many common blinding diseases, such as Glaucoma, begin in one eye. Being able to measure how asymmetric vision loss affects people's performance on everyday tasks may help to identify pathologies early, and could provide an important endpoint when evaluating new therapies. Here, we report a series of studies in which we used virtual reality to evaluate how simulated, asymmetric vision-loss affected response-speed on visual search tasks. In Experiment I, six healthy adults (25.8 ± 3.8 years old) performed a texture-in-texture visual search task, while whole-field blur of varying magnitude was applied independently to each eye. As expected, when the blur was bilaterally-symmetric across both eyes, increasing blur slowed response times (P < 0.001), and at very high levels the task became impossible. When blur was unilateral the 'better' eye was able to compensate to a degree, and the task was possible at all levels of blur. However, even in the unilateral condition, there was still a consistent effect of blur on response times (P < 0.001) – although the rate at which response times increased was less than in the bilateral-symmetric condition (P < 0.001). This means that asymmetric vision-loss continued to degrade search times, suggesting that this paradigm could be used as a potential biomarker for diseases such as Glaucoma. We will also present data from additional experiments (data collection ongoing), in which we assess the effects of Central vs. Peripheral blur, and of Artificial vs. Naturalistic search environments.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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